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“And your mother?"
It was too much. The heart's cry of sorrow was suppressed, but it was with almost passionate bitterness that Rosalie threw herself down on a seat, exclaiming,
"Well? O yes !--it is well with her! But for that my heart would have broken long ago".
He understood it all then-his eye took note of her dress-he knew what some lost letters would have told him; but shocked, grieved as he was, a few minutes passed before he knew what to say or how to speak it. The words were spoken then with that quiet steadiness which insensibly gives strength.
Yes, it is well !-Well with you too, my dear Miss Clyde-For ‘it cannot be ill with him whose God is!'
O what a long breath answered him!-of weakness and weariness and faith, and again weakness! She did not move nor raise her head.
Alie,” said little Hulda, opening the door, "may Tom get some New-year cookies for tea, or would you rather have only doughnuts?'
Mr. Raynor turned quickly, and taking a chair at some distance from Rosalie, he intercepted the little intruder, very much to her dissatisfaction.
“Let me go, sir, if you please,” she said, struggling, though very politely, to get away from the arm that was round her. * Please sir let me go!"
“Not quite yet,” he said, gently placing her upon his lap and kissing her. " Have you quite forgotten me;
Hulda?" * No, sir, because I never saw you before.”
That is being forgotten, with a witness. Did you never hear of a little girl who once took her doll out to ride, and then dropped that unfortunate young lady from the carriage window into the mud?" “O yes!
s!” said Hulda, “indeed I have ! And are you the nice gentlemar that picked her up for me, sir?"
“I had the pleasure of picking her up for you. Whether I am nice or not you seem to be a little doubtful.”
“O, I remember all about it!" said the child, sitting up now with a pleased and interested look. “I haven't thought of it in a great while. I was so glad dolly's face wasn't clear down in the mud-and oh, the mud was so thick! And her dress was all black in front-do you remember?”
“No, I remember nothing about her dress."
“Don't you?" said Hulda; "well, I remember perfectly well: And don't you remember how the other gentleman laughed because I loved my doll so much?"
Nay, I think that was not the reason he laughed."
0, yes, it must have been,” said Hulda, “because you know there was nothing else to laugh at. But mayn't I go now, sir? I want to speak to Alie.”
“I don't think she wants you half so much as I do. How many new dolls have you had since Hulda?"
“0, I haven't had any,” said she, smiling. “I've got the same one yet.”
“ You must be a careful little body," said her friend.
Yes, I suppose I am,” said Hulda, folding her hands with a grave air, as if she had been about fifty; " but then I don't play with dolls now much I haven't much time.”
“Does Miss Rosalie keep you so busy? I should hardly have thought thizi
O no, sir, that isn't the reason-she'd let me play a great deal. But then," said Hulda, looking off with a contemplative face, "I'd rather talk to her. Thornton always goes out, you know, and so she'd be all alone if it wasn't for me.
A shade of very deep displeasure crossed the gentleman's face while she spoke; but happily absorbed in swinging her little feet and watching the shadows that flickered up and down the wall, Hulda saw it not. Neither did Rosalie, whose eyes were yet shielded by her hand. But old knowledge of the face and character supplied the want of sight,-her hand was taken down and she turned and spoke.
What did you want of me, Hulda ". “O, only about the cake for tea,” said Hulda, twisting herself round. Tom didn't know whether you wanted him to get some New-year cookies."
Send for what you like, dear, and let us have tea at once." And Hulda went, wondering very much at the kiss with which Mr. Raynor had released her; it was such a strange kiss—she could not tell what to make of it. Only it seemed to Hulda as if for some reason or other the strange gentleman liked her; and she began to like him in return very much.
He came and stood before the fire as she left the room, with a look that said his uppermost thoughts were not such as could be spoken nor yet easily put aside.
“You were expected earlier in the winter, Mr. Raynor," said Rosalie, as if she had a mind they should at least not be dwelt upon. Yes, much earlier," he said, sitting down by her.
“But I am not accustomed to hear 'Mr. Raynor' from your lips, Miss Rosalie, --before I went away it was Mr. Henry.
“O, that was to distinguish you from Mr. Penn," she said, with a little flush that came somewhat unwittingly.
“And you do not mean to distinguish me any more!"
She did not look to see what he meant the colour that came over her face seemed to say she would rather not know; it was more of distress than embarrassment; and she went on somewhat hastily, as it her object were but to talk-not to say any particular thing.
My help is hardly needed to distinguish people that have lived so long abroad,—that is enough in this age of the world. But how grieved Mrs. Raynor will be that she has lost the first minutes of your arrival! She is quite well—I can tell you that. I saw he only this morning, and she left town at four o'clock.”
“So I found out when I reached the house; and my next movo was to seek some way of following her to-night, but it was too late.”
“She has wished for you so earnestly! I think it was as much as even she could do to be patient.”
“I am sure it was more than I could do," said the young man, who was apparently carrying on some under-current of scrutiny or cogitation, and waiting for another look, which he could not get.
My passage home was made in four different ships, and I left all my patience in the first."
* Four different ships! Then you really did see some of the fighting that she feared so much!"
I really did see and hear a good deal of it-felt a little, too. When we were two days out from Bordeaux,” he continued, with no reply to her inquiring look,“ a British letter-of-marque fell in with us and took possession, after we had run as hard as we could for eleven hours. Part of the men were left on board and the ship ordered for England; while I had the honour of being cared for-, or I should
not cared for-in the brig. Then came up the Paul Jones, one of our privateers, took the brig and burnt her, and brought me home.
“Unhurt through it all?"
She looked up then,-one quick, earnest look,-and Mr. Raynor's smile said that he had got just what he wanted.
“I must go now," he said, quietly. “ Some business matters need attention, and there will be scant time to do anything in the morning. May I tell my mother that you are well? I hardly dare venture upon that unauthorized assertion."
O yes, I am quite well,--and give her my love, Mr. Raynor.” • If I can make up my mind to part with it." “Good evening,” said a third party who had entered the room “ Have I the pleasure of seeing Mr. Raynor?”
“I am not sure, sir," was the somewhat grave reply, though accompanied with a not uncordial shake of the hand. evening, Mr. Clyde—or I should rather say, how do you do, after so long a break in our intercourse."
How well Thornton felt that whatever cordiality there might be in the salutation was for Rosalie's brother-not for him. Certainly his own greeting had been cold enough. Tea's ready,” said Hulda, suddenly adding her little person to
"wont you come? O, Thornton! have you come home to tea ?-how pleasant that will be !—there'll be four of us !"
Poor little Hulda! she might have said anything else, her brother thought, with better effect. His cheek flushed with displeasure and mortification, and there was a minute of awkward silence. Then Rosalie came to his side, and linking her arm in his -caressingly, as he felt, she said,
Thornton, cannot you persuade Mr. Raynor to drink tea with us instead of going home to take it alone?"
Thornton felt that she stood by him, whoever else did not; and with a blessing in his heart that his lips did not speak, he gave the invitation—as he would have done anything else that she had asked at that moment.
Mr. Raynor looked at the brother and sister as they stood there,
" But good
and though something of the shade which Hulda had before called forth came back, yet his face unbent, and in his answer there was no disturbing element, unless a touch of quiet amusement.
“I cannot refuse to stay at your request, Mr. Clyde, for I know you came because you thought I was here.
And Thornton wondered whether his guest had lately studied witchcraft. It was odd too, but he would have given anything if Mr. Raynor had made himself less absolutely pleasant and agreeable for the next hour. In a half-vexed, half-soothed state, Thornton remained during tea; but when Mr. Raynor had gone up-stairs, vexation soon got the upper hand "Where is Hulda?" he said, when Rosalie came down. “ In bed."
“Well, that is a comfort. I do wish you would teach her to hold her tongue. Her way of saying things is perfectly, spiteful."
"If it is spiteful to be glad to have you at home,” said his sister, as she took a low seat by him, "you must bestow that epithet on
Nonsense-glad indeed ! What do you suppose she cares? As if it was not enough to find disagreeable company at home, without having all one's actions submitted to their approval.”
" But,” said Rosalie, with a little hesitation, “it does not matter what is done with the actions that oneself approves, -and the others can rarely be kept secret.”
I presume not-so long as one has two sharp-eyed sisters," said Thornton, as he rose up and quitted the room. And the housedoor's clang immediately followed.
Had she done wrong to say that had she gone too far? She did not know-she could not resolve. Between the fear of displeasing him, of weakening her influence, and the earnest desire to speak a word for the truth whenever it might be spoken, Rosalie was often at a loss; and the eyes whose keenness he condemned had wept many tears before Thornton had gone far in his anger. On the whole, the evening had been a sorrowful one. She had in a measure got accustomed to the old grievous things, but she felt now as if more were coming upon her,-a sort of undefined perception that her own trials were getting entwined with those of other people. But one thing seemed clear, and that was her duty. She thought long and earnestly of those words of Rutherford, “It is possible your success answer not your desire in this worthy cause: what then? Duties are ours, events are the Lord's.” And striving to let her will, as her hope, rest there, sleep had passed its quieting hand over her face long before her brother returned and camo softly in to look at her. He had taken a great habit of doing this, of late.
Is low-esteemed in her eyes.--LOWELL. FULLY determined that if her brother had any cause of complaint against her it should not go unatoned for, Rosalie's first desire the next morning was to see him.
If he only knew !-she thought.
But he did not know-he could not guess that of all the cares upon her heart his welfare was the chiefest,--that for his sake she would have gone through any possible difficulty or danger. Sometimes she half thought he did know it,—that her love was appreciated, if not quite returned ; and sometimes she did not know what to think.
In this mood she got up as early as the tardy daylight would permit, and dressing herself softly that she might not wake Hulda, stood leaning against the door-post with clasped hands and a very grave, quiet face, waiting to hear him go down. She was not sure but this was one of his mornings for an early drill. The step came at last, and no sooner had fairly passed her door than her ght foot followed. Down the stairs, and into the breakfast-room-but he was not there. Had she mistaken another step for his. He came behind her at the moment, and with his lips upon her forehead, inquired, “What in the world she was after, at that time in the morning?"
"O, I was after you,” she said, looking up at him, and then as quick down again; for something in his eyes had brought her very heart welling up to her own.
“ To ask me to beg your pardon for last night's offences ?” said Thornton, as he drew her to a seat by him on the sofa.
No, indeed !” “It is done unasked, then, Alie. I should hate myself for a month if I thought my words had grieved you half as much as they did me. I suppose I need not ask whether I am forgiven?"
He had no answer, at all events.
“Hush-you are a foolish child," Thornton said. “Why, Alie, what was it you took so much to heart?"
“Nothing; not that. But oh, Thornton, I wish you knew me a Little better !"
“So do not I; I know you quite well enough now for my own comfort. If I knew you any better I should probably absent myself permanently, and leave the field clear to some one who would take better care of you. As it is, Alie, I choose to persuade myself that we can live on together."
What a look she turned on him.
“Well, now, let us hear what you have to say, pretty one,” said her brother, admiringly. “What has your little head been at work upon;"